The Goal Ladder

A goal-setting methodology to help accomplish big objectives with consistency.

A process for setting, executing, and achieving your life goals.

High performers routinely accomplish incredible feats that, to people watching from home, seem impossible:

  1. Elon Musk sent people to space AND has the most valuable car company in the world.
  2. LeBron James has dominated the NBA for 17 consecutive years.
  3. Michelle Obama is building a multimedia conglomerate.

What sets these high-producing individuals apart is their ability to set big goals and work relentlessly until they’re accomplished. Many people conflate goals with dreams, believing that merely wanting something bad enough will somehow breathe it into existence. This isn’t the case. Accomplishing big goals requires detailed planning, creativity, and consistent execution. A dream is a fantasy. If you want to become a high performer you have to begin managing your goals framework.

The good news is that it doesn’t take world-class athletic abilities or super-genius IQ levels to improve your ability to hit big goals. It just takes some grit. In this essay we’re going to unpack the non-negotiables of pursuing your biggest objectives.


The Formula

There’s a formula for setting and executing big goals:

  1. Create your core personal value statement.
  2. Set goal ladders for each value.
  3. Build an accountability tracker.
  4. Use your tribe.

Create your core personal value statement:

There’s no sense setting goals that move your life in a direction you don’t want to go. If you aspire to run a marathon in a month you probably shouldn’t set a goal to binge watch all nine seasons of Scrubs. This is why your core personal value statement is so important. It is the bedrock upon which your goals are set. 

In my last essay, I outlined the concept of core personal values (CPVs) in detail. It’s critical to understand CPVs before diving into goal-setting. CPVs are individually unique principles and characteristics that drive an individual’s behavior. Think of CPVs as the underlying decision-making protocol that makes people think and act in certain ways. For example, someone with a CPV of entrepreneurship likely wouldn’t stay in a 9-5 job longer than need be. Since the principle value is new business creation, a decision to stay at the 9-5 job would run counter to it. Therefore, the person would decide to leave the company as soon as possible. 

Core personal goals (CPGs) are quantifiable milestones an individual sets in their pursuit of self-fulfillment. CPGs are always derivative of CPVs, as the values are what set the trajectory for goal targets and milestones. A CPG for the entrepreneurship CPV mentioned above may be “I will have $1,000 in monthly income from my own business within the next six months.” 

Before launching into the rest of the goal-setting exercises, go through the labor of solidifying your CPV statement. It’ll make the downstream effort far easier.

Set goal ladders for each value:

After completing your CPV statement you should have five values detailed. Next, you’ll set goals for each value with varying degrees of challenge level and time commitment required to accomplish that goal. Here’s a table to explain what I mean:

Start with your 5-year goals. Think big. Bigger. 5 years is a long time! You can start, stop, and change a lot of people, priorities, and projects in your life over that period of time. You want to be aggressive and live in pursuit of badassery, whatever that means to you.

Your big 5-year goals cascade into smaller bite-sized chunks. These are the breadcrumbs that will help you on your way to accomplishing your huge vision. In the Beanie & Blazer methodology, we call this goal flow the goal ladder.

Here’s an example of a CPV-related goal ladder:

CPV: Fitness of mind, body, and spirit – I focus on my personal well-being to stay healthy and grounded no matter how chaotic life becomes. 

5-year goal: 

Finish a 100-mile race.

1-year goal: 

Complete a marathon.

1-month goal: 

  • Identify a training protocol and hire a trainer.
  • Buy proper gear.

1-week goal: 

  • Sign-up for a marathon.
  • Go for a 3-mile run to set time benchmark.
  • Find a friend to run with.

1-day goal: 

  • Find 5 possible marathons within 100 miles of my house.
  • Text 3 friends to see if they’ll run. 
  • Google “marathon tips for beginners.”
  • Talk to friend who did a marathon last year. 
  • Read ‘Born to Run.’

Each goal is a step in progress toward the next rung of the ladder. Obviously, there’s a lot more that goes into the ultimate goal of completing a 100-mile race than the smaller goals outlined above. Think of daily and weekly goals as tasks to be completed. As the time intervals broaden, the goals become more complex and intensive. Near-term objectives should be highly actionable and boost momentum toward the final outcome.

As indicated in the table above, your goals should be revisited and revised often. Priorities shift and progress may come faster or slower than expected. You need to have enough resolve to pursue your goals with vigor, but flexible enough to keep them dynamic as things change for you. 

Build an accountability tracker:

The mental visualization that accompanies goal-setting is a lot of fun. You can almost see yourself at the starting line of the 100-mile race with a confident smile on your face, reflecting on all the hard work that got you to that point. Without holding yourself accountable to tracking your progress, however, that visualization will never come to fruition. 

An accountability tracker is a tool (often software-based) used to monitor your progress up the goal ladder. You can use a notebook, spreadsheet, or app. It’s totally up to you. The important part is that you incorporate the following items into your tracker:

  1. Name of goal (ex. Text 3 friends to see if they’ll run)
  2. Due date (ex. This week)
  3. Completed/Not completed
  4. Notes

Checking and updating the tracker should be a regular part of your routine. Daily goals change daily, weekly change weekly, and so on. The more disciplined you are in managing your evolving objectives and priorities, the quicker you move toward your higher-order goals. 

Here’s a list of some goal-tracking apps to help kickstart your journey. 

Create time blocks in your calendar for the sole purpose of reflecting on your progress. This daily exercise will keep you on track. 

Use your tribe:

The power of having people in your corner as you navigate the turbulent world of high-performance can’t be understated. The mentorship and support that a strong tribe offers is often what keeps a person from quitting on themselves when the going gets really tough. A tribe also helps you stay the course on your goals.

Once you construct your accountability tracker, share it with some of your closest loved ones and mentors. Ask them to regularly ask for updates. Keep them abreast of changes, challenges, and big milestones you’ve achieved. Let them guide you. 

Sharing your goals with more people breathes new life into them. Your tribe wants desperately to see you succeed and to be a part of your journey. Make yourself vulnerable to their review and see how confident you become with a team at your back. 


Conclusion

Hitting big goals can seem paralyzing. Don’t let this stop you from stretching your comfort zone and seeing what you’re capable of. You can achieve great levels of performance by routinely sticking to the goals framework.

Start with your values. Give yourself mental clarity of who you want to become. This vision is the foundation for all of your goals and without it, there is nothing connecting your goals together.

Build your goal ladders. Achievement over long periods of time requires consistency and discipline. Modeling small achievable goals for yourself provides the momentum and direction needed to tackle much bigger long-term objectives. 

Use an accountability tracker. The only way to know whether you’re on the right track is to monitor your progress over time. Use a tool that gives you the visibility and feedback necessary to see your evolution over time. 

Include your tribe. Never go at hard goals alone. Surround yourself with people who support and guide your success. Share your vulnerabilities and successes with them. They’ll make you work harder for what you believe in. 

Good luck with your big hairy audacious goals. Beanie & Blazer is here to support you every step of the way. 


What is Beanie & Blazer?

Beanie & Blazer is a lifestyle engineering company built to align people’s personal values and goals with their habits and behaviors. Our methodology offers our community clarity of purpose, a tribe of mentors and supporters, and reclamation of time in their busy lives. We systematically train people to become high performers.

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